Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


National Eggs Benedict Day and American Food Days

Happy hollandaise!

Today is National Eggs Benedict Day . . . hmm, that makes me want to go to Cinnamon’s and get Kalua Pig Eggs Benedict, which let me tell you is salty, soft meaty, goodness, that will make your taste buds melt and make your heart race (probably from all the calories, but never mind that).

However, a more interesting fact is that almost every day on the calendar is a an American Food Holiday.  Yep, that’s right a lot of the 365 (or 366 days, Feb. 29 is Surf and Turf Day) are taken!  So how do you get a special day like that put on the calendar?  Well, the President of the United States actually can declare a special day through a signing of a Proclamation.  If you are curious on a the details of such things then, click on this link.

However, if you are more curious about food and to see what special food represents your day then click on here.  I was born on National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, which is kind of ironic because I prefer chocolate over Vanilla.  I think I should petition Congress for a change of days.

So what food day were you born on?  And don’t you think with all this shameless promotion of food, which at least have a holiday from the food holidays?


How to order Dim Sum, Youtube style

A great joy of Chinese families is to go together Saturday or Sunday morning and have dim sum (點心 or lit. “little hearts”). We typically call it yum cha (飲茶) or literally, “drinking tea” as you would sip tea with all these great food. Typically, the brunch time affair has a soundtrack of loud noises (either from crashing plates, angry waitresses, or Chinese mothers yelling) while you share the the variety of small dishes that you share with your family.

Well, fortunately for me I met some awesome Chinese brethren while eating at Sikdorak, a Korean bbq place . .. hey, it’s Hawaii we like to mix it up. Anyway, this funny video ensued of how to order Chinese dim sum (albeit in Sushi ii . . . yeah, we had fun during the night), please watch my awesome Chinese buddies telling you how to do it dim sum style!

How to order dim sum – by Dan & Jen (English version)

Ignore the loud person in the background (as that would be me . . .). Thanks Melissa for filming this video. Hmmm, now that they said all that I want to go back to Hong Kong for some food.


What is ‘Organic’? and Other News about Mothers’ Breast Milk Ice Cream

Yesterday was Pancake Day and I totally missed it. This is a total bummer as I love pancakes . . . hmmm, I think this calls for a trek to Cinnamon’s or Liliha Bakery soon.

However, in other news read the re-caps of the Eat the Street 2, the food truck rally and The Chocolate Festival by Hawaii Blog and Nonstop Honolulu, respectively, by clicking on the appropriate links.

Personally, I was planning on attending Eat the Street 2, however it once again seemed poorly planned based on the numbers. The whole point of going for people curious is to try as many food trucks as possible if you spend forty-five minutes to an hour in each line a) you will be full from the prior truck you ate from and b) you will get to may be at most three trucks . . .  I don’t know somehow the planners need to take ameliorate some of the most glaring problems.

While, I appreciate that you should have a strategy to maximize your time there, that is only effective if you could get there before the rush, if you are a working professional with long hours, forget it. I have, based on my own experiences, ideas on how they could run it a more efficient manner, but I’ll save that for another time.

Oh well, cheers to Vino for serving my appetite this past Friday, as Eat the Street is now 0-2 for me now. There is always a next time I’m sure or may be I will just plan my food truck crawl.

Anyway, let’s turn to some national news. After the earlier post about what are Hawaii legislators are concerned about, several national organizations are continuing the debate over Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs) and how the affect what is considered ‘organic.’ NPR has an interesting piece on how alfalfa is affecting our definition of what ‘organic’ is, and you can check it out here.

While, I can understand people’s need for keeping things ‘pure’ I always like to point out that many of the fruits, vegetables, and livestock we eat now have been genetically manipulated over thousands of years to obtain what we have now. While, it is true that the scale that we are doing it now is on a far more sophisticated and molecular level the reality is we as a race have been manipulating our food sources to produce what we want and how we want. Just my 2 cents.

Now for something really ‘organic’? Well, if mothers’ breast milk is ‘organic’? I guess that is the real question are we natural or is anything we do unnatural, hmm, something to ponder . . . Anyway, this NPR article reports how ice cream made with mothers’ breast milk was seized. I kind of think it is kind of funny it is being called Baby Gaga, and it does sound like something that Lady Gaga would do.

Finally, in happy Grub Club news, my fellow foodie and awesome Yelper Kyle H. has started a blog. Check it out by clicking here.


Food in the House

I guess it is a food-filled week for lawmakers as well. The  Hawaii House Committee of Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC) has decided to make it a food day for its agenda, today (2/23). The following bills will be heard today:

    • Would require bread products that have been baked and then frozen to be labeled “previously frozen” and also prohibits bread that has been frozen to be labeled or advertised as “fresh”.
    • Would restrict the use of the geographic origin of Hawaii-grown coffee on coffee labels.

In addition to those two bills, a joint hearing between CPC and the House Judiciary Committee will hear two bills on sale or distribution of caffeinated beer beverages. The two bills are HB903, HD1 and 904, HD1.

If I listen to any of the testimony it will probably make me hungry, thank goodness for this weekend!


So Many Choices

Well, it is almost the weekend and I cannot wait, as I have had a busy, day, which will pale in comparison to tomorrow. Oh well, at least baby it is the weekend and I am going to have me some fun. But oh the choices!

This Friday (1/28) is Art After Dark, and celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with the appropriately named theme, “Show Me the Bunny.” For more info., click on this link.  As always there will be good fun, and of course food, with Chef Kenney of Town and Downtown there, and if you don’t want that there is always Le Guignol a hop and a skip away.

BUT WAIT, what is this?! There is another fun and food-filled event in Chinatown itself. This weekend celebrating Chinese New Year and the return of the NFL ProBowl is the “I Love Chinatown Festival.” For more information click over here.

And of course, I have to choose between Art After Dark and I Love Chinatown Festival on Friday because Saturday is Off-Menu’s Off-Premise Dining with Off the Wall, which will be off the hook (how many times can I say “off”?). Hmm, I mentioned all events and venues that are featuring Chefs that are with Off-Menu, hmmm . . . they must be on to something.

Anyway, last, and certainly not at all least is Nonstop Honolulu, they have filled my lunch and dinner schedule with a wide range of new eats around the fair city and county of Honolulu. Check it out, they have 57 new and upcoming places that foodies, like myself, are interesting in feeding their four stomachs. As always Mari Taketa is truly on it!


Quick Lunch Review: Downtown @ HiSAM’s Seared Ahi Club and a much needed Update

Hey everyone, long time no see on this blog. HGC is getting more attention now. Anyway, if you know anything about me I have a job at Hawaii’s State Capitol, trying to set up a third blog, and keeping the HGC running and going . . . yes, busy galore. If you want awesome food reviews, and not the ramblings of someone who has too much on his plate check out this HGC Yelper’s Reviews. She is as awesome as the food item I am about tor review. Speaking of that, let’s get to the important thing, the FOOD!

Where I work, luckily a seared ahi club is never too far away!

Quick Lunch Review: Seared Ahi Club by Downtown@ HiSAM

My job at the Capitol keeps me pretty busy, it is stressful, long, but I like it. Keeps my mind agile and my stomach hungry. Thank god there is Downtown @ HiSAM (“Hawaii State Art Museum”) nearby (less than a 3-minute hungry-walk). Downtown is owned by Chef Ed Kenney of Town, in Kaimuki. The menu is light and perfect for the busy lunch crowd of lawyers, business people, lobbyists, and legislators (and their staff!). It is the same style of food that Chef Ed has become known for in Hawaii.

I would just like to bring attention to his Seared Ahi Club, which I have had three times in this past month. All I can say is it is the right portion of food at all the right places. There is enough searing to the ahi to make it light, but it is still the raw. The bacon is there to bring saltiness and crunch, but it does not overwhelm the ahi, but compliments it. The wasabi has enough hint to help the ahi (reminiscent of sashimi-style) and the salad is a good companion to the sandwich. The quartering of the sandwich into fours always means it can be shared with a lunch companion or you can eat each slice in two to three bites. It’s awesome!

From a Yelper who captured this delightful lunch item.

It is so awesome that I run from my office when I take my lunch break that I forget my camera and so must use a yelper’s picture because it is just a perfect lunch for a busy person at work. So if you are new to the Capitol or downtown scene and want a quick bite, but not feel stuffed or overwhelmed (because work does that) head to Downtown and grab a Seared Ahi Club.

Update and Other Random Tidbits:

So just like the HGC blog, this blog will be updated, but randomly and not as frequent as last year (but something tells me you already figured that out from the fact that the last blog post came in November). Anyway, feel free to subscribe and you can get my mad-hunger laden ramblings from time to time without clicking this site everyday at work as you figure out how to waste time. Anyway, I just like to talk about some interesting food things and then go to bed.

Like everyone else one of my NY’s resolutions was to eat healthier this year . . . that went out the door when I started working at the State Capitol. However, my boss happens to be a vegetarian and so it has motivated me once again to go with the Meatless Monday movement. I was able to do it for several consecutive Mondays last year during the summer, but just dropped it. Now with Huffington Post reporting that Sodexo, the world’s premier food services provider, rolling out Meatless Mondays as well, I think there is no excuse for me to strive for it again.

The protest coming to these Sandwich Isles next via 2011 HB77.

Despite my desire to eat healthy and go vegan for a day that does not mean I want my foie gras taken from me. The nice thing about work in lawmaking is you get to see all the bills that go through the legislative process. Some you like, some you don’t care about, and some you pray don’t pass. Like this one. Yes, HB77 aims to ban foie gras from these fair islands.

I think largely, like a lot of bills, there is good intent to curb or reduce a perceived problem. However, I think that a lot of time interested parties have a complete misconception of what is going on and thus it is a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” syndrome. As is with wagyu beef and cows, foie gras and ducks can be treated with all the same comfort and generally produces better foie gras.

This article from Serious Eats takes an in-depth look at a foie gras farm and highlights how the conditions are not the horror stories that people who would like to ban foie gras conjure up. I think the author makes a strong point ending with this conclusion:

If you are against the confinement, slaughter, and eating of all animals, then that’s a different argument to be had at a different time. But to single out foie as the worst of the worst is misguided at best, and downright manipulative at worst. Just as there are good eggs and bad eggs, good beef and bad beef, good chicken and bad chicken, so there is good foie and bad foie. We are especially lucky, because we happen to live in a country where all of the foie produced is good foie.

Quote taken from: The Physiology of Foie: Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical

I really think that this is the same case here is that it presents and easy target that a select group of people are incensed about and that is because they are letting their personal preferences cloud them from seeing the total picture. Anyway, that is just my two cents.


Restaurant and Cooking Tips from the Professionals

Sometimes its best to take advice from a chef.

Hey everyone, today I am posting advice from food professionals on little tricks that they use when cooking and on how to get the best deal at a restaurant.

So let’s get to it!

10 Food Tools and Tricks

The other night I was at a Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) party with some friends (a recap and pictures forthcoming). One of my friends was lamenting on how to cook something that seemed relatively simple, and my best friend (who cooks well, thus I raid his fridge often) offered some advice. My cooking challenged friend was surprised at the amount of knowledge my best friend knew and asked “how do you know all this stuff?” Well, it comes from watching television, reading books, and checking things out on the net.

For instance at the Huffington Post they have this simple slide show of little tricks people in the food industry use when cooking. I’ll do a quick run thru here and may be throw in a comment or two, but you should check out the slide show here.

  1. Using a Pedegg as a lemon or lime zester. All I can say is don’t use the one for you feet when you are making my drinks.
  2. Spice up your fries with some Old Bay Seasoning.
  3. Use mayo, in particular Hellmann’s Mayo. I’m not surprised by this tip, as mayo, like butter and bacon, makes almost everything better (well, except your arteries).
  4. Protect your cake with plastic food film, in fact, it may improve its texture.
  5. Coriander for sweet and savory dishes.
  6. Use a Vita Prep to make your sauces and vinaigrettes.
  7. Microplane, you don’t need to wish airplanes are shooting stars to save your meal with this versatile tool.
  8. Use cinnamon to add depth and flavor.
  9. Flat Spatula. Treat it like an extension of your hand, as it gives greater control in pans
  10. Use your pasta water. Don’t dump it out! It adds that starchy and salty goodness to sauces.

5 Tips How to Get Deals at Restaurants

Are you a small business owner? Have a budget to keep, but need to rope in those new clients?

Over at OPEN Forum, Jean Chatzky shares some advice on how to bring down that high price check at restaurants. While she is speaking from a small business owner trying to impress clients, but keep the costs down all the advice given from culinary professionals can be used even on a more casual/friendly basis. So here goes:

  1. Do breakfast. Luc Dimnet, the Executive Chef of Brasserie in NYC, says “A lot of restaurants that serve breakfast have good offers for business that include coffee, orange juice, and a great dish.  There’s also no risk that the guest will order an expensive bottle of wine[.]”
  2. Share. Richard Sandoval, chef and owner of more than a dozen restaurants recommends going small. Small plates are trendy right now and sharing keeps the tab down. This also allows you to try a wider range at a new restaurant without breaking the bank. I think this is a tip that Hawaii people have known for a while. Family style, the way to go!
  3. Plan ahead. David Burke, chef and owner of David Burke Restaurants, says “Arrange for a pre-set menu ahead of time, with wines included in the price.” While this may take some planning the personalized menu always looks fancy to others.
  4. Stay casual. Chef Kerry Simon of LA Market in LA says that restaurants nowadays have a high and low tier, with the lower being more casual in terms of cost and presentation. Moreover, clients probably would appreciate relaxed every now and then.
  5. Eat early. Try dining between 5 and 6pm suggests Chef David Myers, owner of Sona in Los Angeles and Comme Ça in LA and LV. During this time many restaurants have special drink and food deals.

For the full details on the aforementioned advice check it out at OPEN Forum. Oh yeah, if you are interested in business casual in downtown Honolulu read about it at the Honolulu Grub Club’s news round-up here.


What We Drink: Some Stories for you to Imbibe

NYC has Shrimp in its Tap Water

Craving shrimp? Take a huge swig of NYC tap!

New York City has some pretty good tap water (not as good as Hawaii, but still pretty good for a major metropolitan city). Could it be due to the microscopic shrimp lurking in its waters? Yep, according to this Time article when you are taking a gulp of tap in NYC you are getting something extra, some copepods. They little shrimp are not dangerous, in fact they provide a health benefit by clearing out mosquito larvae from the water system. However, if you are one of the many Orthodox Jews living in the city. It’s not really kosher. For everyone else, whenever you are in the mood for shrimp, just drink the NYC tap. You’ll be getting a lot.

Green Tea that is Bad for You

Drink this or eat four slices of cherry pie. It is all the same.

If you thought VitaminWater was bad, watch out for green tea. In particular, SoBe green tea. Earlier this year, Men’s Health put out a list of “Drink This, Not That!” I had posted on the HGC website earlier about that infamous Coldstone PB&C shake, which is equivalent of 68 strips of bacon. Well, here is a follow-up and some other drinks you might want avoid.

  • Worst bottled tea: SoBe Green Tea. A 20-ounce bottle has 240 calories with 61 grams of sugar — the sugar equivalent of four slices of Sara Lee Cherry Pie.
  • Worst water: Snapple Agave Melon Antioxidant Water. A 20-ounce bottle has 150 calories and 33 grams sugar, the equivalent of two Good Humor Chocolate Eclair bars.
  • Worst energy drink: Rockstar. One 16-ounce can has 280 calories and 62 grams of sugar, the sugar equivalent of six Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts.
  • Worst beer: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. A 12-ounce bottle has 330 calories and 32 grams of carbohydrates, the carbohydrate equivalent of a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra.
  • Worst espresso drink: Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream. A 20-ounce venti has 660 calories and 95 grams of sugar, the sugar equivalent of 8 1 / 2scoops of Edy’s Slow Churned rich and creamy coffee ice cream.
  • Worst margarita: Traditional Red Lobster Lobsterita. A 24-ounce serving has 890 calories and 183 grams of carbohydrates, the carb equivalent of seven Almond Joy candy bars.

Source: “Drink This, Not That!”

Coffee Beans May Be More Expensive, but Your Starbucks Coffee Won’t Be Anymore Costlier

Beans may cost more, but your Starbucks cup won't.

Are you enjoy the price of your coffee beans? Well, this NPR article explains that Colombia has had several years of weak harvests. So normal supply and demand rules apply. However, if you are fortunate to have a job that allows you the daily please of Starbucks in the morning, and then may be again after 2p.m. when you bring in your morning receipt for $2 off, not to worry. The true impact will be felt by those of you who get your beans at the grocery store. Time to switch to tea? Probably not, prices should fall if Brazil’s bumper harvest pans out.


Nanotech Tea = Insta-Purified Water

As a tea drinker (over coffee) I definitely appreciate a sip of good tea. I liked tea so much I thought of opening a tea shop, but that has come to fruition yet. In the meantime, I like reading about the history of tea. It has definitely been an important beverage to humanity over the years. The heating of water to brew tea definitely helped population growth, as the heating would kill harmful things in the water.

Nowadays, with our fancy modern technology, South African researchers have created a tea bag that purifies water. It works by using nanotech fibers to filter harmful contaminants. Meanwhile, carbon is activated inside the bag to kill bacteria.

The best part of all this is the bag costs only a half a cent. This cheap little tea bag may just save tons of lives for a few cents. Check out more information about here.


Food Trucks Go Gourmet

Skillet looks like an awesome food truck . . . too bad I'm in Honolulu and it is in Seattle.

It looks like that a lot of chefs are heading out of the restaurants and into the trucks. This NPR article talks about how a lot of fine dining chefs are setting up their own food trucks rather than a regular brick-and-mortar store.

I definitely am behind this all the way. Living here in Hawaii plate lunches from trucks are some of the best finds for eats. Then living and going to school in Philly I could not get enough of the crepe truck that parked near the gym at the UPenn campus. I know, crepes after gym equals awesome diet . . .

From a business perspective, I really think that this is a show of innovation and creativeness on the part of the chefs. The mobile food keeps costs down and the like or dislike is definitely felt more immediately. Therefore, there is a lot of creativity going on. Despite the higher prices compared to cheap food trucks, these gourmet ones are still more bang for your buck. Especially, for workers in office buildings who can afford the prices. They know where to get a restaurant meal without having to go to a restaurant. Plus it still comes out cheaper because the chef can offer a meal without all the costs associated with a restaurant.

Anyway, enough of my analysis, I’d also like to share these other finds for Honolulu food trucks.

Some Other Noteworthy Food Trucks

First up, is the Soul Patrol by Chef Sean Priester. Chef Sean used to work at Top of Waikiki before he set out on his own. Now he has his own restaurant, but still finds time to keep his soul food service on wheels. I myself have not tried his food, but several people have suggested it and Chef Sean definitely has a following. (Future Lunch Review!) From what I hear, best place for soul food on the island.

Next up, Shogunai Tacos. Never heard of it here on Honolulu? Well, that’s because it isn’t here yet. Shared to me by a Facebook post, I checked the link and it definitely sounds interesting and fun. I definitely think this will be a cool one to check out. I like Sapori and Moroccan food, and I think that Chef Kamal will bring some new flavors, which I think makes it a great concept.


Raiding one refrigerator at a time!

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